The doctor makes a neat incision,
based on municipal decision,
closes the wound, the tempered part,
with anesthesia pins the heart.
The atmosphere is his whole wood,
the moral duty to do good,
where mansions crumble at the edge
of the new universal college.
In my dream I was alone with my mother.
My Mameleh was rushing along now quickly,
in the narrow sunlight of the gutter,
her skirts were skipping with a great emotion
which made her burst out random words of Yiddish.
I held her around the waist and we went on.
Now I was my proper self and son,
and felt inside a great inheritance.
We passed the empty beaches with a dance,
while Mother scorned the woman I had been with
in fewer words. What woman did I begin with?
Distracted from the ragged stragglers
by some strange seismic motion on the hill,
as if it hadn’t had enough to kill,
my Dad’s words echoing that they moved a mountain
each time they slammed their fists on it in rage,
a giant structure where we stayed as guests
turned on its side and toppled off the hill
on to the beach. Most people rushed to it
to see the dead and save those who were living.
But anyone it hit was beyond saving.
Ben Mazer’s newest poetry collection, The Hierarchy of the Pavilions, is available now.